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Interview with Deborah Castor, ReSound

Deborah Castor

May 5, 2008
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Topic: ReSound University for Au.D.s, Educational Outreach Program
Paul Dybala: Hello. This is Dr. Paul Dybala with AudiologyOnline and I have Dr. Debra Castor from ReSound here to talk to us about some new university outreach programs ReSound is offering. Debra, thank you so much for coming on AudiologyOnline today.

To start, could you tell us a little bit about your professional background and what you do for ReSound?

Debra Castor: Thank you Paul. It is my pleasure. The first chapter of my career was as a clinical audiologist for 11 years. I then had opportunities to enter into manufacturing sector in 2000 and have worked for a couple of manufacturers having various roles. I am now happily in my 5th year with ReSound. I now have the privilege of being a regional training manager for the Eastern half of the U.S. and have a dynamic group of Regional Audiologists on my team. Our entire training team is instrumental in working with customers on many levels including introducing them to our innovations and product technology, increasing familiarity and comfort with our software applications, and business growth events such as consumer seminars and marketing of their practice.

Dybala: Today we are talking about ReSound's educational outreach. Could you tell us about this program?

Castor: Sure. The ReSound Education Outreach Program is in place to support the educational development of future audiologists and to create awareness about how ReSound can provide solutions for their patients and for their practice. Most importantly, we want to make sure students are aware of what a manufacturer can offer them in terms of professional expertise, product technology, and business development. Now that there are audiology doctorate programs in place, we are committed to helping to launch those students, beyond their graduation, into an autonomous, independent, practicing professional career. We offer events such as our ReSound University for Audiology Doctoral Students to provide an opportunity for them to understand what takes place behind the scenes to create devices and the multitude of resources available to them from an innovative manufacturer such as ReSound.



In addition, while they are still in school, we want to help connect students with mentors through a partnership with the Audiology Foundation of America (AFA). This partnership is a big part of what we are doing now to launch our education outreach program.



Audiology Foundation of America

AFA has been a key element in helping the audiologists of tomorrow launch into a professional career. A lot of it is autonomy, helping students and clinicians to network. I remember as a student not knowing a thing about going to a big convention or who to talk to. A big part of what AFA and AAA are doing now is trying to match our future audiologists with current practicing professionals as mentors to help them realize the potential of their career.

Dybala: Well, that is great. I think it is a great idea to expose students to the manufacturing angle of the industry even if it as simple as a tour of the facility to see how the process works. Students benefit from these tangible experiences and connections.

Castor: That is exactly right, which is why we host a large part of our program at the manufacturing facility. It really does open students' eyes to how much goes on behind the scenes. It also allows them to put faces with names and build relationships with our team members.

Dybala: Absolutely. Well, can you tell us about the specifics of the program at your facility?

Castor: We are calling our program ReSound University for AuDs. We designed this to be offered at the end of the semester so that students can focus on what their coursework and look forward to participating in this fun, educational activity. The first event for 2008 is coming up May 14th through the 17th in Bloomington, MN. Essentially, we want to show the hearing aid process from start to finish;from earmold impressions to fitting and programming. The agenda will allow for us to educate them about new technology and introduce them to some our researchers. We have also invited guest speakers who are accomplished practitioners and who serve as directors for AFA to discuss private practice, career development, interviewing and marketing your practice.

We will take them through the entire process. We show them our true fit process where the earmolds are scanned into the computer and we show them our e-sculptors, which is a job that you would have never imagined 20 years ago. The e-sculptors electronically work with the impressions to minimize size and to maximize receiver position, venting and so forth



ReSound E-Sculptors

The students will have earmold impressions made and will be able to see their hearing instruments going through the hearing aid process so they will be able to leave with their own models. They will also have a hands-on experience in our modifications lab where they will actually be able to drill and adjust shells to learn techniques that they implement in-office. This will show them that they can save a lot of time by learning a few simple techniques.



ReSound Production and Repair Lab

Our program includes presentations on the innovations of ReSound technology that we package into every form factor, whether it is a CIC, a full shell, or a BTE. There is a great deal of interaction planned during the program which is conducive to the educational experience.

We are also going to host another program with a similar agenda at the end of the semester during the second week in December. The dates for this program are December 9th through December 12th. Instructions for applying will be sent out in September.

Dybala: That is great.

Castor: In addition to ReSound University, we are also sponsoring, through an alliance with Audiology Foundation of America, the Conference on Professional Education II. The last time they held this conference was 20 years ago when the Au.D. programs were establishing. This year's conference will focus on positioning audiology for the 21st century. The goals of the conference are to examine the Au.D. education, what is working well, what are obstacles in audiology, what can we do about the shortage of practitioners, and what can we do as a collaborative effort to help students network, find mentors, find placements for good jobs, and find other professionals that are interested in supporting the future of the profession. It will be held October 4-5th in Mesa, AZ at the A.T. Still University, the Arizona School of Health Sciences.

We have partnered with AFA for a total of $100,000, and part of this money goes to supporting this particular conference, as well as the student mentoring program, student travel to attend ADA. Last October at the ADA conference in Orlando and were happy to sponsor a student breakfast where we had the privilege of providing them with their very own otoscope.

Our goal is to get a chance to have multiple touch points with our students. They are clearly the future of the profession and we hope to have a positive influence on their careers. We have an outstanding team of Regional Audiologists nationwide who are committing time to developing student-focused presentations and networking with educational program directors to acclimate students to our organization.

Another part of our program for education outreach is working with AFA to support students on the local level by providing scholarship dollars. AFA has a scholarship program where students have to write an essay and so forth, and they have a process of determining who receives the scholarship.

Dybala: That is amazing. Speaking of applying, do students have to apply to ReSound University?

Castor: Yes. We have an application that gets disseminated through our team, Sales and Training, and through email format to all the educational program directors via the AFA. This is open to all Audiology doctoral students who are in their 2nd , 3rd or 4th year. Applicants are required to provide basic information: name and address, name of the program they are attending, expected graduation date, and so forth, and they must send a copy of their current transcript. We have limited seating of 45 per event due to keep it more interactive and personal. If there are any questions, applicants can feel free to contact me.

Dybala: It is my understanding that you are also providing some online support for students as well.

Castor: Correct. We are thrilled to be creating a student-focused web site. It is currently under construction, but the finished product will include student newsletters, territory-based key contacts of ReSound team members, an archive of downloadable technical updates, product portfolio information, and white papers. We will have a link to news and developments at our World Headquarters in Copenhagen, current and future innovations, and to our affiliate, GN Otometrics. There will also be a mentor and career corner to facilitate networking of students and practicing professionals. The website should be available by July of this year.

I would like take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank our new president, Bjorn Christ, for embracing and supporting this entire program which allows us to reach out for students. He fully realizes that they are the future, and he is a huge proponent of participating in their educational experience.

Dybala: We will definitely look forward to that in the future, and Debra, thank you for your time today. I do want to encourage everyone, if they want more information, to go to www.GNReSound.com or visit the ReSound web channel on AudiologyOnline at www.audiologyonline.com/channels/gn_resound.asp. I am sure that there will be news releases announcing these great upcoming programs unfolding for students in the near future.

Castor: Thank you, Paul. It was entirely my pleasure.

More About ReSound

The North American headquarters of GN ReSound is located in Bloomington, Minnesota and is led by President, Bjorn Christ. Producing thousands of hearing aids every month, GN ReSound North America is an integral part of the global GN conglomerate. Throughout the world, GN ReSound brings superior products to individuals with hearing loss. In addition, through programs such as ReSound University, ReSound strives to educate audiologists as well as audiology students to be successful and knowledgeable hearing care professionals.
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Deborah Castor